Even though it hasn’t recorded an album of its own, the current incarnation of Grand Funk Railroad — led by founding members Don Brewer and Mel Schacher — considers any part of the Flint-formed group’s 40-plus year catalog to be fair game. But, Brewer notes, it’s only prudent to dig so deep into it.
“We rotate new things in and out of the show every now and then,” says Brewer, 62, who also plays drums in Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band. “But we really focus on the songs three generations of people can relate to rather than going back and digging up the album cuts.
“You might get a handful of guys that pump their fists because you’re playing something they haven’t heard in 20 years, but we focus on stuff more user friendly” — which includes hits such as “We’re An American Band,” “Closer to Home,” “I’m Your Captain” and covers of Little Eva’s “The Locomotion” and Soul Brothers Six’s “Some Kind of Wonderful.”
Grand Funk is celebrating a few career anniversaries this year, including albums such as “Survival” and “E Pluribus Funk” (40 years), “Born To Die” and the Frank Zappa-produced “Good Singin’ Good Playin’” (35 years), and 30 years since the initial comeback album “Grand Funk Lives.” More importantly, it’s also 40 years since the group’s historic concert at Shea Stadium in New York, where it broke records by selling out in just 72 hours.
“My memories of that were being scared to death,” Brewer recalls with a laugh. “Flying in a helicopter over Shea Stadium, Humble Pie is down on the stage rockin’ out, there’s our names behind the stage ... It was one of those ‘Pinch me. Is this real?’ kind of things, something I’ll never forget.”
Grand Funk Railroad and Pazman’s Super Session perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 29, at Rockin’ on the Riverfront on the south side of the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. Admission is free. Call 313-567-6700 or visit www.gmrencen.com.
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